Saturday, 23 October 2010

A Year Gone By

I have been kayaking just over a year now so I thought I would put together a post to celebrate my first birthday as a kayaker.
This was the point where it all started. Tied in on on a cliff at Southerndown when two kayaks cut through the still water toward the fading sunset. It looked amazing.

A couple of weeks later and I was demoing some boats at Up & Under Cardiff.

By the end of the summer I bought my first boat and took it out at my local bay at Gileston.
I spent many hours in the sheltered waters of Cardiff and Barry docks practicing my strokes and turns.
Then in October 09 I left the shores for my first trip. I paddled out to Tusker Rock near Porthcawl and along the cliffs near Southerndown.
I have returned to Tusker rock many times since as it remains one of my favourite places to visit.
I joined Glam Boaters canoe club to learn how to flip my boat back up the right way when it all goes wrong.
But it was back to the sea to learn some more testing skills!
With confidence on a high and a few cold winter trips under my belt I ventured further a-field to Pembrokeshire. This was my first trip out west to Stack Rocks before my trip to Skomer Island the next day.
The west coast of Skomer proved to be a learning steep learning curve, I was literally out of my depth!
Since then I have made it a rule that I go further a field at least once a month. More recently I made a trip with my dad up to the Isle of Skye on the west coast of Scotland.
Flat and Steep holm have been a popular destination this summer.
And after months of staring at it from the shore I made a landing on Nash Sand Bar, if only for a short time.
A view from my most recent trip around Ramsey Island, and the menacing Bitches.
I have seen my share of sun sets and sun rises.
Volcanic sunset, Gileston
Sun rise near Llantwit Major
The great thing about a kayak is you can get up close to certain things that you wouldn't normally be able to like this tall ship off Fishguard harbour...
Or a close up of this coastguard demonstration at Cardiff Bay.
The wildlife I have experienced this past 12 months has been amazing! Seals are a common sight out west.
Razor Bills and Guilimots
Lots of puffins
Shags and Cormorants
And my favorite so far, the white tailed eagle in Skye. Also seen many other varieties of sea birds and sea life including dolphins and porpoises which I have yet to manage to capture on film.
I have met some good friends and had some great days out. Above Mick passing Wolves buoy on our way to Flat Holm.
Glam boaters in West Wales
Taron and Richy returning from Flat Holm
Ian and myself spotted by a local photographer at our local bay, nice enough to send us his pictures.
Taron's charity paddle to Flat Holm in a wedding dress.
Glam Boaters coach Andy approaching a buoy off Mumble head. I also have to mention everyone online for all there helpful advise, aspirations to follow and friendship.
My longest paddle so far was from Port Eynon to the Mumbles and back again. A total 38km.
Where's my bow gone?? I've had a few scares this year too.
I've spent a few rough trips along the Glamorgan coast near Llantwit Major, practice in a familiar place more than anything.
And my near death experience at the Bitches where I went for a swim. Still scares the life out of me that place!
South and West Wales (getting there slowly)
The Isle of Skye

That's my first year gone I have achieved more that I ever thought I would. I feel more confident with every paddle and waves that used to look big are starting to get smaller. I can't wait to see what the next year will bring. Another trip to Scotland is already on the books. Hopefully this time next year I will have a new boat as well, providing I stop spending my money that is! Here's to next year..Hopefully see some of you out there!


Richard said...

A great first year of sea kayaking you certainly have caught the sea kayaking bug!

Stuart said...

I think obsessed is the right word! Best thing I've ever done, roll on next year.